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Mug Smashers (Arcade) artwork

Mug Smashers (Arcade) review

"Mug Smashers, though devastatingly threatening by name, is more of a womanly slap across the cheek than any truly bruising smash. It isnít as good as Final Fight or Streets of Rage, and certainly doesnít appear to be too worried about it. Itís bad, and surprisingly content with that. "

Mug Smashers, though devastatingly threatening by name, is more of a womanly slap across the cheek than any truly bruising smash. It isnít as good as Final Fight or Streets of Rage, and certainly doesnít appear to be too worried about it. Itís bad, and surprisingly content with that.

Our tale begins in annoyingly typical fashion, as some random girl is hanging from the outside of a departing helicopter, bound and gagged. Our huge-armed goggle-wearing cheetah-pansted hero is on the way! Does he know the girl? I donít know. Does he own a mirror? I doubt it.

Mug Smashers isn't quite sure how seriously to approach the 'side-scrolling brawler in the big suburb' scenario -- along with shattered windows and hobo-littered streets come acts of ''SMILE!'' and ''JAZZ BAND!'' sprayed in graffiti along the city's walls. A horrifying mixture of school spirit and street tough badness!

Then again, maybe things aren't as innocent as they seem. The inner-city is also plastered with 'Gold Beer!' ads featuring women with mega-tatas and knife-wielding latinos who guzzle liquor between stab attempts. That, and you can pick up guns and stand there, popping enemies repeatedly in the ribs until they stop getting up.

So, then: cartoony and overly fruity, yet somehow more suggestive than other major inner-city beat-em-'ups.

Enemies are scarily and homely dressed, but do not compare in fruitish magnitude to our great hero, whose firey red hair and giant, senseless goggles suggest sexuality preferences not otherwise imparted. Enemy types are also varied in a seemingly senseless manner: overall-wearing farmers and black-masked foot soldiers attack you outside of city bars in broad daylight! Then come the bald circus midgets and sailors with fishhooks. Freud would have a field day with this horrible sexual episode.

The bosses are equally corny -- stage one's BIGMAN is a hulking, overpowering Arthur Fonzerelli-type, who could pick up our flaming hero and lovingly floss with him. It's a frightening prospect! Level two's REDMAN is another oversized menace, this time an apparently handicapped karate master donning the red outfit. Watch out for the creative FIREMAN, who looks like an even uglier version of Jack Nicholson's Joker of Batman and carries a giant flamethrower. Help.

All of this strangeness might have been acceptable had the gameplay been respectable, but the overwhelming staleness of your supermuscled weirdo using the same three-hit combo on hundreds of ridiculous morons makes this an impossibility. The enemies are in great abundance, and many take two or three sets of punches in order to finally eliminateóthe fact that it isnít fun magnifies the repetition infinitely, bringing it to a masterfully intolerable level.

There arenít many redeeming qualities to reap the benefits of in Mug Smashers, unless youíre just there for the freakshow. It lacks the hard-hitting viciousness of members of the genre that are actually considered successful, like Final Fight, and isnít funny enough to be truly enjoyable. Itís caught between silliness and quality, permanently. Four points for the name MUG SMASHERS, though.

dogma's avatar
Featured community review by dogma (September 08, 2006)

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